Market Street Drainage Improvement Project in Charleston, SC

Dive into the project, FAQ-style.


The city is working to mitigate flooding around the Historic City Market, where stormwater tends to accumulate.

Photo by CHStoday

It’s 5 p.m. in Charleston and you hear an ominous rumble of thunder. Just as you reach for the phone to cancel your downtown dinner reservations, the downpour begins.

We’re no strangers to flooding around these parts — especially on the peninsula. Grab your thigh-high rainboots, because today we’re chatting about The Market Street Drainage Improvement Project, five-minute FAQ-style.

What is the purpose of the project?
The city of Charleston’s Dept. of Stormwater Management aims to reduce flooding around the Historic City Market area through this project.

Why is there often flooding around the market?
This area of the peninsula was constructed on an old tidal creek bed. The City Market, located between North and South Market streets + Meeting and East Bay streets, sits at the lower end of the Market Street Drainage Basin — a 55.5-acre crescent-shaped basin.

For two centuries, the basin’s main drainage has been brick arch drains that lead to an outfall past Concord Street. This brick arch system has filled with sediment over time. What’s more, the surface collection system is outdated + the conveyance system is not operating at full capacity.

What changes will be made?
The project is split into three divisions. Division I included upgrading the pump station controls, improving surface collection on Concord Street, and installing an additional pump. Division II included the construction of an underground tunnel connecting the drainage area to the pump station. In Division III, improvements will be made to the surface collection system, conveyance system, and streetscape.

How far along is the project?
According to Director of Stormwater Management Matthew Fountain, the goal is to complete designs for the final phase of the project by mid-2023. However, designs may be not completed until the end of 2023. Construction may begin in 2024.

In the meantime, stay dry out there. ☔

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